Travels

Scams and cigars

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New day in Cuba. Today we have a long route (301 km), since we want to try to get to Cayo Levisa to see another type of Cayo other than the previous day, this one in the West of the island.

We had breakfast strong, complete, as always (6 CUC both). We pick up the car from our garage "clandestine" (2 CUC) and start by saying goodbye to the owners of the Alma House (ARTICLE IN CHAVETAS WITH ALL THE DETAILS HERE) (or casón) and de Matanzas.




Leaving the road to Havana on the north highway of the island, a few kilometers from Varadero, we find a very cool viewpoint next to the bridge of Bacumayagua, before passing a checkpoint. There we take a delicious pina colada (5.50 CUC both) and enjoy the magnificent views offered by the hostel. We also took the opportunity to buy our first postcards (1.5 CUC for three), a moisturizer (3.60 CUC) and 2 cigars for Cayo Levisa at night (4 CUC both).




Our Athos the truth is that he is behaving well, passing the difficult roads of the mountain of Tope de Collantes and its subways, putting 100 and 120 km / h on the highway without problem, enduring the heat and the conditioned air at the same time . So we continue our journey by pouring gasoline (22 CUC) and cleaning the glass (1 CUC). Have we told you how the topic of gasoline goes here? There is the special one, which is what we miss -94 Octans- and there are 90 and 84 Octans, and we even seem to have seen it lower, come on ... fry like in Havana the first day. There are two types of gas station but they are very scattered, so we have chosen not to let it go down from the last 2 stripes.

The hard part of the day is going to be cross Havana, but after 1 hour without indications, thanks to the occasional "bottle" and the occasional lap, we succeeded, putting ourselves already in the "8 ways" that goes to Pinar del Río. Along the way we see oil farms and an accident (without injuries, who says they are not stressed?)



What we are going to tell you now, we don't even know how to explain it. We don't know yet if it was fate, the scam or world's most original scam or coincidences of life. The fact is that we were going on the "8 way" road of the Puente de la Herrería that would take us more directly to Cayo Levisa and we found a black person 2 meters high raising his arms in the middle of the highway to stop someone. Beside an old car with the engine hood open. We stop and open the window a little and he tells us that if we can approach him a little later to call, that his taxi has stopped, he blashes ... We agree not before taking everything from behind and he tells us a quite logical story. The fact is that Juve asks if he knows any place where we could buy tobacco and it turns out that he is ... !!! ALEJANDRO ROBAINA!!!! and works in his tobacco plantation. And that was going there. Total, that we change the travel route and take you there (if we go alone it is IMPOSSIBLE to arrive without signs and dirt roads) and he offers us in gratitude a visit to the plantation and a free explanation (which says it is worth 5CUC for tourists ).

ABOUT PINAR DEL RÍO TOBACCO PLANTATIONS:

It is said that best cigars on the planet they can only be found in this town (even those made outside take Habanos designation of origin knowing their importance), Pinar del Río, a small and low town where people seek shade in times of sun and horses pull the cars becoming The transport par excellence.

Among all the neighbors, Alejandro Robaina It is the most illustrious, acclaimed in remote countries and honored to satiety. The Robaina family has been dedicated to the manufacture of cigars since 1845, conserving the lands after the Revolution. Its plantations have the 4 fundamental factors: climate, land, variety and experience.

We love the visit, very well explained ... In fact Pinar del Río is in the Golden Triangle in tobacco plantations in Cuba. Everything comes from here.




There, after hearing the whole story, seeing a cigar live and perfect in diameter, inviting us to savor another pure robaina valley, we decided to take us 30 cigars (€ 100 + 12 CUC): 20 Cohibas Piramide, 6 Cohibas Explendido (those of Fidel) and 4 Cohibas Robusto (that of Che) at 5 CUC each. It is true that in Spain they are worth € 23-30 each. They also give us 2 Valle Robaina, the fact for us and the one they gave us to try. It takes 2 years to get a good cigar with the whole process.

Total, that happy we continue our way, taking our new "friend" to his house when passing through Pinewood of the river. Our new route: Viñales - Palma Rubia - Parking to catch the Ferry to Cayo Levisa. And there we arrived, in the middle of mountains, villages, after taking another young girl and taking her to Palma Rubía and seeing places that would wait for us two days later, banana plantations included.




After paying the "pallllllqueoooo" of the parking lot (1 CUC), confirm the reservation in the Cayo and take a pineapple juice (2.40 CUC), we take the ferry that takes us to our new adventure: Cayo Levisa (ARTICLE IN CHAVETAS WITH ALL THE DETAILS HERE). We have the Ferry included when staying and it takes 35 minutes to arrive. There are people who come to spend the day, who with food and ferry are charged 20 CUC / pers. Those who do not have the Ferry included charge 15 CUC / pers and if you want a special service to leave at a time other than those scheduled (10am and 5pm) are 10 CUC / pers




They welcome us with a welcome cocktail and explain that a cold front has just passed a few days before but that the gale of wind. It is the first day that we are going to have "bad weather" (in quotes because it is sunny) ... !! that wind! hahaha



The area is cool. Small bungalow-type houses along a fine sandy beach ...




But as we had slept the day before. We resist not having a good time tonight. We are going to have dinner (which, by the way, we had a fancy dinner, beef hash -which supposedly cannot be eaten-, spaghetti, etc ...) and we do not stop laughing all night. The truth is that it was the best dinner of the whole trip. So it is that all the lodgers looked at us, we got the waiter to put us a third plate of hash (eh grandmother, you would have loved this, haha) and the couple who was playing there began to join us and explain that Maracas were "bull eggs" and then we had a drink ...

That's how it was, not only did we close dinner, but we ended up with all the chefs, managers and entertainers there on the terrace, drinking rum (our Santiago de Cuba), smoking our cohiba and listening good music. We barely spent 10.05 CUC all night (Coca Cola, Bucaneros ...)




And at this point in the day you will ask yourself, what was the Alejandro Robaina worker? Tonight we learned that the "black 2m" that stops you on the road seems to be a scam quite widespread to take you to your plantation and sell you cigars. We were left with a face !! LOL. Quickly we took the Lonely Planet and saw, that Alejandro Robaina appeared as the only person alive in Cuba with a cigar brand in his name, that the visits are not tourist but backpackers who go free and worth 5 CUC and that the cigars they are good quality. Scam? Coincidence? We will never know, but our cigars nobody takes them away from us. If it is finally a scam, we can only applaud such scam so masterful and original... and sleep the moña ... one more night in Cuba !! !Goodnight!


Isaac and Juve, from Cayo Levisa (Cuba)

EXPENSES DAY: € 100 and 71.05 CUC (approx 51.58 euros)

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